March 22, 2012No sooner had Rep. Paul Ryan unveiled his new budget proposal than liberals were howling in rage and righteous indignation. What was it that infuriated them so? James Pethokoukis at The American gives a clue when he compared Ryan's budgetary approach with the president's:
Ryan’s Path to Prosperity would cut the growth in Medicaid spending by $770 billion over ten years vs. President Obama’s budget, still spending $3.5 trillion overall on the program. Ryan would convert the federal share of Medicaid spending into a block grant to the states – indexed for inflation and population growth — giving them the flexibility to design programs that best suit their needs. He would also convert the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program into a block grant indexed for inflation and...
March 16, 2012Warren Brookes Journalism Fellow Matthew Patterson Featured in The Washington Examiner
Unions are salivating at the opportunity to take down their arch-nemesis, Wisconsin's Gov. Scott Walker.
March 9, 2012In my column for The Washington Examiner today, I discuss the origins and consequences of our horrific, $15+ trillion debt:
For decades, the government has been spending our wealth -- first everything we made, then everything we are ever going to make, and now everything our children and their children will ever make. How future generations will judge us for the theft of their prosperity is not hard to guess.
America is not alone in this fiscally debased condition, of course. The rot is deep and widespread; it is civilizational. The entitlement promises made by national and local governments of the West are so vast that they can never be kept.
Some readers have scoffed at my characterization of debt as a fatal, civilizational sickness...
March 1, 2012In just a few week the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments regarding the legal challenges to the administration's controversial health-care overhaul, especially the constitutionality of the so-called "individual mandate" that requires every American to purchase government-approved insurance.
The Court's finding on the matter will be the most consequential ruling in that august institutions long history, excepting only perhaps the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision. If the Supreme Court upholds the law, there will officially be no limits to the federal government's scope, no ceiling on its powers, no real liberty in America, economic or otherwise.
(It is hard to believe it has come to this, that a people who once set a continent in flames over a trifling tax have been reduced to hoping a court will save them from enslaving...
January 17, 2012Social Security remains the most popular, and therefore politically untouchable, program ever instituted by the United States government. Just last year, 79 percent of respondents to a CNN/ORC poll rated Social Security "good for the country." In the same survey, an astonishing 73 percent agreed that "Social Security is something that the U.S. Constitution allows the federal government to do."
Clearly, support for the program cuts across the political spectrum. Even many of the Tea Partiers who have marched with fervor against Obamacare are doubtless collecting Social Security, and would doubtless be loath to give it up.
This is sad, because as I have been arguing ad nauseum for several years now, Social Security is every bit as offensive to liberty and fiscal sanity as Obamacare: In fact, you could not...
January 13, 2012Mere months after President Obama and Congress last tussled over the debt ceiling, the United States has once more reached its legal borrowing limit. But it still needs more. The Wall Street Journal reports:
The U.S. government was just a hair below the $15.194 trillion debt ceiling on Tuesday, $25 million shy of the limit Congress set last summer. President Barack Obama sent a letter to congressional leaders Thursday, saying the U.S. debt was within $100 million of the ceiling "and that further borrowing is required to meet existing commitments."
The "further borrowing" required to meet our commitments will amount to another $1.2 trillion, if the Treasury Department and the president get their way. And if they don't? Again, from the Journal:
January 6, 2012Faced with a $9.2 billion budgetary shortfall next year, California Gov. Jerry Brown has not surprisingly reached for the only tool in the Democratic shed -- more taxes. Via The New York Times:
Gov. Jerry Brown called on California voters Thursday to approve $6.9 billion in temporary new taxes, including a surcharge on big earners, as part of yet another bad-news budget proposal, this one for 2012. He warned that without those tax increases, California would be forced to impose severe cuts in public schools that could reduce the school year by three weeks.
There is another way...
December 21, 2011Comedian Louis C.K. once received a disturbing lesson in “fairness” from his children. As he tells the story in one of his stand-up specials, his daughter once accidentally broke one of her toys, and then demanded that Louis break her sibling's toy “to make it fair.”
Wow. From the mouths of babes, a perfect example of how the impulse to “fairness” -- seemingly so benign in theory -- in practice so often leads to disaster.
Nature, of course, is not fair. It dispenses talent, intellect, and luck unequally amongst the populations of the world. As a result, some people will always end up with more than others. When government sets out to impose “fairness” on society, it is therefore faced with a dilemma. It is impossible to make some people smarter, luckier, more talented. It is equally impossible to take away those blessings from those who have inherited them. The only recourse for...
December 16, 2011One of the joys of studying history is discovering the enormous number of bizarre coincidences scattered throughout the affairs of men. Example: Thomas Jefferson, primary author of the Declaration of Independence, died on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of that document, giving his last breath on July 4, 1826. As if that wasn't coincidence enough, Jefferson's friend and fellow revolutionary (and his predecessor in the presidency) John Adams passed away on the very same day. "Jefferson still survives," were Adams' final words, unaware that his lifelong rival and colleague had expired a few hours previously.
Another interesting coincidence: Free government was invented by two separate peoples, apparently independently, within one year of each other in the late 6th century BC. In 509, the Roman people overthrew the Etruscan kingship that had ruled Rome for centuries and instituted...
December 15, 2011In a world awash in socialism and socialist agitators (I’m looking at you, Occupy Wall Street, MSNBC...) it’s good to know at least Santa Claus is kicking it old school. That’s right, Saint Nick is a conservative through and through, in spite of the red get-up.
Think about it: Santa doesn’t distribute toys in the willy-nilly, every-one’s-a winner liberal fashion. No, sir, you have to earn your toys from him -- through decent behavior. Naughty boys net no toys. If Santa were a liberal he would give everyone a toy, whether they deserved it or not, and it would be the same toy, shoddily assembled by some government bureaucrat instead of crack private-sector elfin expertise.
Which brings us to another point -- Santa is obviously independently wealthy (excellent capitalist creds) and is therefore able to write off his yearly sojourn as a massive and merry act of philanthropy,...